As I returned to Brussels with the worst of the snow seemingly clearing, the 11.04 Eurostar was, somewhat remarkably, on time leaving though slightly late arriving in Brussels. It was, however, crowded; I suppose only to be expected in the circumstances.
There will be a lot more EU news this week as the European Parliament Committees are interviewing prospective Commissioners, a serious business which, as in the case of Rocco Buttiglione, has led to the withdrawal of a candidature.
As of now, I am still mulling over David Cameron’s interview with Andrew Marr yesterday. Before going further, I have to admit, Mr Cameron on television bores me witless. He drones on about really very little in his really well modulated tones to really negligible effect. Speaking personally, I have no doubt that Gordon Brown would beat David Cameron hands down in a TV debate.
Cameron is also continuing his Euro nonsense. Speaking to Andrew Marr, Cameron again told the British people he would renegotiate parts of the treaties Britain has already agreed with the EU. As I have said many times before, this is rather more than a hollow promise – it’s a downright lie. It will simply not be possible to renegotiate anything without the agreement of a majority of EU member states and that majority is simply not there.
In addition to his blatant misleading of the people of this country, Cameron reiterated his old chestnut that the Tories would withdraw from the European Social Chapter. Even if this were possible, the fact that Cameron puts this forward as a flagship policy tells us a lot about him and his Conservative Party. If it were to happen, withdrawal from the Social Chapter would mean fewer rights at work, less job security and higher levels of poverty. Cameron is in some ways being quite clever by clothing his agenda in EU speak. But make no mistake as to what he and his Conservatives are about – cuts in public spending are only one aspect of a programme designed to further the interests of the rich at the expense of the poor.
There are, and always have been, clear dividing lines between Labour and the Conservatives. I joined the Labour Party over 30 years ago to campaign for the many, not the few, to make Britain a fairer and more equal place, to encourage aspiration while at the same time allowing everyone to lead fulfilling lives. This is absolutely not what the Tories are about. They haven’t changed since Margaret Thatcher, and please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.